Divorce is the New Death

Why accepting failure might save your relationship

There’s a theory propounded by some historians that modern divorce is a substitute for death. In the past, so the theory goes, most people died young and so hardly any couples lived on together for many years. One – or both of them – died. These days, where lots of us are lucky enough to have a good chance of living to three score years and ten, we spend a great deal more time in couples, and so have a much greater chance of getting thoroughly sick of each other. Your partner will probably not die, and nor will you, so the next best thing is divorce. Not very consoling, you might think.

But maybe it is. How so?

All relationships are failures

The first thing to remember is that relationships don’t just fail by ending. Even the best relationships are riddled with failure, just as the best person is. Human desire and need are limitless, and even the kind of life that looks the best and most successful is, from the inner perspective, botched

Continue reading

Enjoy unlimited access to the world's leading thinkers.

Start by exploring our subscription options or joining our mailing list today.

Start Free Trial

Already a subscriber? Log in

Join the conversation